Volume 23, Issue 1 (1994)
Behavioral/Emotional Problems of Children With Serious Emotional Disturbance and Learning Disabilities
Stephanie H. McConaughy, Richard E. Mattison, Reece L. Peterson
This study tested the discriminative validity of two empirically based rating scales for differentiating children with serious emotional disturbance (SED) from children with learning disabilities (LD) and matched normal controls. Subjects were 366 children with SED, 366 with LD, and 366 normal controls, ages 5-18, matched on gender, age and demographic variables. Parent ratings were obtained on the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) and teacher ratings on the Teacher’s Report Form (TRF) for each subject. Results showed that children with SED scored significantly higher than children with LD on all but one CBCL scale and all TRF scales. Both groups scored higher than normal controls on all but one scale. Teacher-reported aggressive behavior was the best predictor of SED versus LD classification. Other significant predictors included attention problems, delinquent behavior, social problems, thought problems, and withdrawal. Implications are discussed regarding assessment and special education eligibility decisions.
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